Exploring the world one toilet at a time.
Hello everyone... I wanted to run this by the JC community to see if I am missing something. I began CFI Initial checkride in early August and am still waiting for DPE to complete the checkride after receiving a Notice of Disapproval.
The somewhat brief background:
Clue #1: FOI
I scheduled the checkride with a DPE per the instructions of the local FSDO. Was all ready to go, however, a few days before the scheduled date my DPE called and said I had to go take the FOI. I hadn't taken the FOI because the regs seemed to indicate that being a university professor provide an option to skip this exam for the CFI Initial. I figured there was no reason to push back given they were giving me the checkride.... .. no problem.-- a week later I took the exam - passed with a 98%. Done... let's roll.
Clue #2. All Knowing CFI
Though I had completed the whole big CFI binder, I set it aside as I prefer to teach with a simple tabbed outline in a binder in front of me that includes key topics just to make sure I cover everything I want to include in each lesson. It's just an outline... there is no content included. I've been teaching that way for the past 18 years, so that is how I prepared for the checkride. When the initial checkride day finally came, and we got through all the requisite paperwork, we got rolling. All was going along well until the DPE said "You know... the CFI is considered the PhD of aviation... you should know all of this stuff cold... you need to quit reading your notes and close the binder in front of you"
At that point I simply closed the binder as I did not want to get into a philosophical debate about the fact that nobody knows "everything"... but they need to be able to admit they don't know something or know where to find the answer. That's basic leadership / management 101.
Clue #3 Notice of Disapproval
The next 4 hours, from my perspective, went relatively smoothly. I answered or taught concepts for each of the areas within the PTS... had a few questions that I stumbled upon... then we got to the National Airspace System. The DPE said I should teach the NAS in about 15 minutes... well... prior to the checkride... I must have rehearsed this section time and again and I compressed things to about 20-25 minutes... anyhow... I completed that section and the DPE leaned back and asked if I had covered everything. I immediately knew that I had missed something but for the life of me I couldn't figure it out.
The DPE gave me a few minutes to look at the board and see if I could come up with what I was missing... then finally said... "well... you know what direction we are heading in here". To which I replied... "Well... I know that I am missing something you are looking for... and I am unable at this time to figure out what that is" The DPE then said that he is going to have to give me a Notice of Disapproval and that I would have to retest just for the NAS and the Maneuver lesson. Everything else was good to go.
I had asked what I missed... and the DPE said that I failed to talk about the airspeed limitation below 10k and below class B airspace. Though I was totally bummed... I did in fact for whatever reason totally drop the ball on that element within the lesson. On the upside... I did ok enough to pass the previous 4.5 hour oral so all I needed to do is reteach NAS, the maneuver, and go fly!
Clue #4. The Traveling DPE
Since the end of August, I have been trying to reschedule with the DPE given that I had 60 days before my efforts essentially expired. Well... the problem is, that the DPE has been traveling the country doing checkrides to help catch up from COVID. On on hand, I totally understand the situation we are in with the backlog, and understand the DPE's ability to earn some additional revenue in the process... but shouldn't the DPE also be committed to finishing the checkrides they begin?
It's now well beyond 60 days... the DPE is unresponsive to voicemail and follow-up texts. Everytime we reschedule... we've been either cancelled by weather or his schedule has changed and the DPE is unable to make it as planned.
Should I just consider this a lost cause at this point and not push to have the DPE finish the checkride? Am I within my right to request at least half of the $850 dollars refunded? The DPE did conduct half the checride... but they have not been very efficient with getting back with me to finish the checkride.
I'm often too easy going and just roll with things.... the folks at our flight school are pretty annoyed as this is really unusual. I've never failed or received a Notice of Disapproval before for a checkride. From a professional standpoint.... I find the DPE to be incredibly unprofessional and sloppy... but at the same time I'm not pushing the person who is grading my performance.
Thoughts on how I should proceed?
You should approach the FSDO with the same level of detail and professionalism you had on your checkride and while making this post. This is 1,000,000 % the DPE's lack of professionalism. Usually failures of the oral portions become a he said she said situation and never go anywhere. However, you've consistently tried to follow up and finish the checkride while that DPE ghosts you. This sounds very similar to someone else I know that is having issues with a DPE. Could you DM me the name, I'd be curious.
For what its worth, the other person I know that is having an issue with a DPE's behavior filled a complaint with the FSDO. You won't get your money back, but it could help others from being scammed by that DPE.